When I was a boy I hated having to go to bed. I still try to milk every minute of life out of every day, but I have grown to love the sweetness of sleep. When I sleep I could sleep through a tornado or a train wreck.
One night I was enjoying my usual sweet, sound, sleep. It was a deep winter sleep under heavy quilts in a soft bed late at night after a taxing day. Suddenly I was awake. Lois was standing at the foot of the bed shouting, “Get up! Get up! Something’s wrong.” I don’t know how long she shouted until I woke up.
“The whole house is shaking. Something’s wrong,” She shouted. It was two or three in the morning and I was not awake enough to think clearly. “It’s just a helicopter,” I said. She was completely unsatisfied with my answer.
“No, Ken,” she shouted, “It’s the furnace. Do something. I’m afraid it’s going to blow up.”
When I finally staggered out of bed I realized the whole house was shaking. I walked into the living room and she was right. It was the furnace. I went down the stairs and walked around it scratching my head. On the back of the furnace was a switch that looked like a light switch. I turned it off. When I did the shaking stopped. The switch was for the blower. The furnace was still firing and heat was radiating upward so I went back to bed. I would call my Uncle Bill for free advice in the morning.
In the morning I returned to the basement. I took a screwdriver and began to take the furnace apart. When I did the source of the trouble became immediately obvious. One panel exposed the blower, which looked to me remarkably like a hamster wheel. Ironically the wheel contained the carcass of a huge rat. He had crawled into the wheel and when the blower kicked on obviously could not keep up to speed. He paid for it with his life. What a way to go, I thought. Hopefully in his next life he can be contained to the something more like the best indoor rabbit cage with all the fixings and all the leg room.
He was big enough the throw the blower out of balance and shake the whole house including the bed where we were enjoying a long winter’s nap. I removed him, put the panel back on the furnace, flipped the switch and the blower kicked in and ran smooth as butter.
It doesn’t take much to throw things out of balance, just a little weight in the wrong place and things get ugly. Life is like that.
Christian families need to learn to balance time on the mountaintop and time in the marketplace. Jesus did not spend all his time in ministry. He often went to a wilderness retreat or a garden. Some nights He stayed out alone under the stars all night on a mountain overlooking his beloved Jerusalem. Often he went to the wilderness with a few others. Sometimes Jesus retreated to the water to be alone for prayer and preparation.
Jesus did not spend all his time in isolation though. He loved to be among the people and the sight of crowds usually moved him to tears. He spent hours moving among the people healing and helping, counseling and saving people who were laden with heartaches and sin. He displayed a perfect balance between the mountaintop and the marketplace, between with wilderness and the work.
Balance is important. Every family should have a family ministry in the marketplace and every family should have a rich and regular devotional experience. Every believer should spend some time on the mountaintop with the Lord and in the marketplace with people.
When I spend too much time in the wilderness or too much time in the marketplace I know it’s time for a change. When I am just a little out of balance every thing starts to fall apart and then I loose sleep at night even when there are no rats in the furnace.
(From Stonebridge Newsletter – Number 60)